Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5
Step 6
Step 7
Step 8
Step 9
Step 10
Step 11
Step 12
Give Yourself Time
Follow Jesus' Steps

Step 10:
Develop Your Personal Support System

Find accepting and affirming people who can encourage you and share in your spiritual life and recovery.  Others also need your support.  Start your own Spiritual Recovery Group.

Romans 15:1, 7: "We who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves… Therefore accept one another just as Christ also accepted you to the glory of God."

All recovery programs include a time and place for people in recovery to meet and share with others who are dealing with the same issues and problems.  You need and can help others who are facing and dealing with recovery from abusive and oppressive religion.  You can learn from the experiences of others and they can learn from you. 

Finding an appropriate and supportive group can be difficult.  Churches usually are indifferent or even hostile to gay and lesbian people who are dealing with how the church has hurt them.  Some churches, such as Metropolitan Community Churches and a growing number of traditional churches are reaching out in love and acceptance to homosexuals without judgment or condemnation.

You can start your own group.  You do not have to have a large group of people to begin.  Two people can develop a time and place for dialogue and sharing that will be encouraging and supportive to them.  Don't be discouraged if you never move beyond two or three people in your group.  Keep it simple. 

Meeting in a home or in a public place like a coffee shop or at local gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender centers are some of the various settings for many kinds of recovery programs.  As in all recovery programs, the purpose of a group is not to preach or promote any organization but to be open, accepting and non judgmental.  Creating an atmosphere of  mutual respect and acceptance encourages growth, self esteem and healthy healing dialogue.

Jesus met with his group of close friends outdoors, in homes, and in a variety of places. 

Look at the material on "Start Your Own Group" included in this web site.  Contact people at Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches and ask for information about local churches and about finding supportive groups in your area. 

Feel free to e-mail the author of this web site for more information: rtruluck@nuvox.net

See START YOUR OWN GROUP and my brochure on Guidelines for Small Group Spiritual Recovery.

Further discussion of Step 10 can be found in my book Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse in the following Lessons:

(Click on the Bible references to see them.)

No. 37. "STAND BY ME"
Acts 4:31-37; 9:26-28; 11:22-26

John 15:1-27

Acts 6:1-7; John 17:20-23

Matthew 20:17-34

On to Step 11

Update for November 10, 2004

Fractured faith leads to fractured lives and to schizophrenic personalities and splintered existence.  Our culture today is dividing and conquering millions of individuals simply by fracturing every value and every truth that we hold to be self evident.  All people are increasingly not seen to be equal.  The great conviction of Jesus that all people have equal value before God is being challenged in every church and every religious and political organization in the world.

All of the progress in human rights and civil rights during the past 50 years is being threatened and attacked by the growing power and authority of religious and political separatism and division at every level of family, social, business, political, educational and religious life.  We are not so much a nation divided as we are a nation fragmented.


Finding a complete and consistent self image and self acceptance eludes you when you look only outside and beyond yourself to discover who you really are.  Look within.  Let the Creator who made you the special unique person that you are guide you on your inner journey to wholeness and health and to joyful self-acceptance.

I have received hundreds of e-mail messages since the election last week that express the growing distrust and dismay of GLBT people and others that their individual person and being are being distorted and rejected by increasingly hostile elements of our society.  I have also received a great increase in the number of people, especially young people, who have found my website and been helped to accept themselves and to take a stand for GLBT understanding and human rights in school and at work.


Paul used the word "reconciliation" to talk about finding peace with God, peace within and peace with others.  Dr. William Hull, Professor of New Testament at Louisville, led a full semester study of "Reconciliation" as part of my doctoral graduate work.  One emphasis was on breaking down the walls of hostility that separate us from God, from ourselves and from others.  The biblical basis for the study was found in the four places where Paul used the term "reconcile".  Yet the entire ministry of Paul was a ministry of reconciliation bringing Jews and Gentiles together and breaking down the walls of hostility that divided people.

These are the four passages: Romans 5:11; 1 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 5:20; Colossians 1:20.  See also Ephesians 2:13-22 about breaking down the walls of hostility that separate us from God and from each other. Review all of Step 10 on "Build Your Support System".


The practical personal method that Paul used to try to bring Gentiles and Jews together in Jesus was to gather a collection from the Gentile churches that he visited and take the collection to Jerusalem to give to Jewish Christians as a way of demonstrating reconciliation and breaking down the centuries old walls of hostility.  Paul gave his life for this collection.

When he came to Jerusalem after being warned of danger, he was arrested and sent to Rome.  Whatever you may think of some of Paul's personal opinions in his letters, his ministry was clearly dominated by efforts to bring people together and break down the hostile walls that divided them.  (See the "collection" in 1 Corinthians l6:1-4; 2 Corinthians. 8:1-4; Acts 24:17 and related passages.)


Paul felt led to take a collection from Gentile Christians to poor Jewish Christians in Jerusalem.  What methods of spiritual reconciliation are available to you today?  Be creative.  Pray about what you can do to overcome some of the distance and hostility between people around you, especially your own family and friends.  Coming out (Step 9) can be a positive step of reconciliation within yourself and with your family.  "Coming out" is simply sharing your truth about yourself with others.

Ask God to show you what you can do to bring reconciliation.  God always has better plans for us than we do.  Discuss this with your partner or home study group.  Never underestimate the importance of a phone call, a visit, a small gift, a sincere compliment or even simply going out of your way to greet someone.

Making accurate information available about homosexuality and the Bible from my website and book can be a great means of reconciliation with other people.  I continue to get letters from many GLBT people around the world who have found help in my website to deal with their own self-esteem and help in getting along with their parents and friends.

My own personal support system includes my mother, my sister and her husband, and my extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins.

This update was added on May 10, 2002:


Abraham Lincoln said: "All that I am I owe to my angel mother."

"Angel" means: "messenger from God."  My mother just returned to Martha Franks Retirement Center in Laurens, S.C., from a visit this week with her sister in McCormick.  Several members of the family who were present for our celebration of Mother's ninetieth birthday last August were also in McCormick this week.


My mother was my first and best teacher.  Both of my parents demonstrated love and family values that are part of my life today.  My mother taught me to respect and take care of myself.  She taught me to respect and accept other people.  There was no room for racial or other prejudice in my home, and I am grateful for the preparation for my present life and ministry that was given to me when I was a child growing up in Spartanburg and in Clinton, S.C.

All parents are teachers, and what children learn by the age of four goes with them for the rest of their lives.  Self-respect, self-esteem, and self-acceptance begin very early or can be crushed and defeated very early in every individual.

Compassion, patience, the enjoyment of nature and good books, finishing what you start, doing your best at whatever you do, doing what you say you will do, being considerate of others, accepting and affirming people who are different from you, respecting yourself and others, and trusting in God are just some of the basic "family values" that I learned from my mother and father.

What did you learn from your mother?  What are you teaching the people in your life today?


My mother is probably the main reason that I have entered into and continue my spiritual journey and ministry as a gay man on a mission of teaching and healing.  My mother gets all of the updates (in very large type so she can see them) and reads and comments to me about them.  She read all the way through my book three times in the first year that it was published.  She has accepted me and affirmed me in my sexual orientation and GLBT activism.

I am fortunate.  Though many openly LGBT people have the total support and acceptance of their parents and other family members, many do not.  Because of the support and acceptance of my parents, all of the rest of my very large family of aunts, uncles, and cousins also accept and encourage me.  This has meant a lot to me and been an important source of peace of mind and self-esteem for me. My sister also has accepted, affirmed and supported me in every way possible throughout our lives.


My mother interacts with me about my updates and other writings.  She does not always agree with me, and we have some lively debates on the phone!  I always learn from her and keep re-thinking what I am saying and doing as she shares her ideas and views with me, just as many of you do also in your e-mail that you send to me.

My mother continues to make regular visits to other residents at the center, especially to those in the infirmary.  At the age of ninety, she sets an example of compassionate concern for others that is characteristic of her entire life.  Her present ministry of visitation and prayer encourages me to learn better how to mister to others myself.


I will not see my mother on Sunday, because she is in South Carolina and I am in California.  We will talk on the phone, as we do about every other day.  Perhaps someone has been like a mother to you, call that person (male or female) and express your gratitude and appreciation.  Perhaps you have been like a mother to someone who was abandoned or rejected by his or her own mother, and you can get in touch and affirm and encourage that person once again.


Joachim Jeremias, the great German biblical scholar, has pointed out that in the 15 places in the Hebrew Bible where God is called "Father" the context of the passages demonstrates God engaging mostly in mothering functions.  This is especially true in Hosea.  See Hosea 11, which begins with "Out of Egypt have I called my son."  Jesus drew on Hosea over 40 times in the Gospel accounts.  The Hosea vision of God as Mother/Father was undoubtedly in the mind of Jesus.

In Hosea, the Hebrew word for God's "compassion" is the word for the mother's womb.

Jeremias said that in view of the mothering functions of God as Parent, the word Father should always be rendered as Mother and Father.  Why don't we do that now that we know the truth about the Mother/Father role of God in the Bible?  Is our traditional masculine vision of God so powerful that we cannot revise our thinking no matter what the evidence tells us?

To substitute "Creator" for Father in inclusive translations misses the point!  God is Mother/Father in the mind of Jesus whenever the word Father is used.  On the cross, Jesus said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."  This is a quotation from Psalm 31:5 (in Luke 23:46).  The word "Father" is not in Psalm 31:5.  Jesus added "Father" to express his relationship of trust and hope in God, his Mother/Father, who is also your Mother/Father.

Rembert Truluck

This material was added on December 2, 200l.

You do not have to remain like you are.  You do not have to continue to be unhappy, frustrated, angry with yourself, and desperate.  Things can change.


The statement that "nothing is impossible with God" has encouraged me and given me hope even in some of my darkest hours.  See: Jeremiah 32:17, 26; Luke 1:37; Matthew 19:26: "Jesus said: This is humanly impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Also in Mark 10:27 & Luke 18:27.) Genesis 18:14; Job 42:2 also declare that nothing is impossible with God.

When I pray, I always pray for miracles.  I pray for God to do things that I cannot even understand, much less control.  Over and over, God has demonstrated love for me and power to change things in my life that I thought were hopeless.  Nothing is hopeless or impossible with God.

Recently I have experienced some personal miracles that seemed impossible just a few days ago.  God is at work in my life and in yours also.  Often we are unable to see what God is accomplishing along the way, because our understanding is distracted and incomplete.  God does not give us perfect understanding, but God always gives us what is best for us if we sincerely desire God's will to be done.


As I look back, I realize that some of the most "wild and crazy" things that happen to me are being used to bring answers to my prayers and to give me what is truly best for my life at this time.

Once you make a clear definite decision that you want God's will to be done in your life, you can let go and move on, because God is in charge and will always give you far better things than you can ever give to yourself.  God made you like you are, and God knows what will really work best for you.


Trust God.  Believe that God really does love and accept you as you are.  Have the courage to let God do for you what you cannot do for yourself.  Live in hope that God is working on your behalf in everything that is happening to you and around you.  Often I have asked God what I should do to change a certain situation or to change another person.  God's answer is: "Nothing."  Yet I still want to do it myself, and whenever I try, I make a mess and have to pull back and start over!

Letting go and letting God do for me what I can never do for myself is a constant challenge.  I keep trying to "fix things" and "arrange things" and "fix people" and I end up making things worse.  God doesn't make mistakes!  So why don't I let God handle what I cannot manage?  Where IS my faith?

Is what I am saying ringing any kind of bell at all for you?  Have you felt the same struggles and frustrations that I am describing in myself?  How have you managed to let God handle for you what was impossible for you to fix?


Sunday is called "the first day of the week" in the New Testament.  It became the great day of celebration for believers because it is the day of resurrection and the basis for hope that God is at work and changes things.  Today is Sunday.  It is a very stormy day here in Oakland, California, as a great Pacific storm is moving onshore even as I write this.

The storm changed some of the circumstances in my life yesterday that brought a miracle and answered prayers.  Today, Sunday, is the first day of starting over and making a new beginning that looks to the future instead of wallowing in mistakes of the recent past.

I thank God and praise God for the positive healthy changes that God is making and that I can never make.

Rembert Truluck

See Cindy Hadden's article about Soulforce at the National Conference of Catholic.

I do not try to deal with all of the many political, religious, social and cultural controversies related to our GLBT community.  What is happening to you personally in your own mind and emotions and in your closest relationships hits much closer to home for me, though politics and current events are very important to all of us.  For current news related to GLBT issues, See the Interfaith Working Group: and to subscribe to their Religion newsletter.

On to Step 11


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